By Gerrit Gustafson
The single biggest barrier for churches to buy a bus is financing. But with a little work and creative thinking, just about any barrier can be overcome.
If your church can’t afford to buy a bus outright, here are four other ways to come up with the money to purchase a bus.
- Capital Fund Raising Campaign
Using a capital funding campaign is a great way to generate the money needed to buy a bus. It can also help to get “buy in” from the people in your church.
By sharing in the investment, the purchase will not seem as big, and people will take more pride in the bus and its maintenance.
Consider planning a campaign or special events to generate the necessary funds. By taking some time, giving some thought, and clearly communicating the ways in which the new bus can help your church fulfill its mission, you will likely find the enthusiasm toward this purchase will grow. You may be surprised to find that all of the funds needed to buy a bus can be raised within three to six months.
- Traditional Loans
Traditional loans provided by banks and finance companies come in different shapes and sizes. Most traditional loans are between four and seven years in length.
The amount of down payment will directly affect the monthly note, as will the interest rate that is obtained at the time of financing. The advantage of a traditional loan is that the church owns the bus outright at the end of the loan.
- Facilities Line of Credit
Often, churches will have an ongoing line of credit from their banks or mortgage company that can cover the purchase cost of a bus. Payments can be more flexible with this type of financing.
Another great way to buy a bus, whether new or even used, is using a lease option. The primary benefit of leasing a bus is that the initial investment, which usually includes your first month’s payment, is minimal, just slightly more than your regular monthly payment. And normally, monthly lease payments are considerably less that traditional loans.
At the end of the lease term, the bus can either be purchased at fair market value or returned. Many churches simply return the bus and begin a new lease on a new bus. In this way, they are assured of always having new equipment for their members and guests.
So, the first step in shopping for a bus is to determine how your church will be paying for the bus it buys or leases, as well as how much your budget will be for a bus.
Most bus dealers will have knowledgeable sales people and a finance department that work with companies specializing in financing buses.
Get started by giving them a call. Then get that bus on the road!
This information is courtesy of Gerrit Gustafson at Carpenter Bus Sales, with national headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, www.carpenterbus.com.